We were going over market research on Spider-Man 2 last week: one of the questions I wanted to know the answer to was, "Did you finish the main storyline portion of the game?" Only 55% of our players said, "Yes." (Side note: it's not entirely clear how much of our survey is grognard capture. The marketing research team is doing everything in their power to get a representative sample of our players, but it's still a web-based survey, so you've got to wonder.)
So, well, that's depressing to me. That's a little like hearing that half of my readers put down my novel halfway through. Or that half of my audience walked out of my movie halfway through. (Not that I've ever made a movie. I'm just trying to make a point.)
Of course, not finishing games is epidemic. They're long and hard and people get frustrated and bored and move on to the next game. The list of games I haven't finished is long, and includes some impressive titles that I still consider "good games."
So I asked: how do our figures compare to other games?
It turns out this question has not been asked by our marketing research department before. I've got to say, it drives me crazy that we do all this research asking things like, "Do you ever consider buying products because you've seen them in a videogame?" and not these more fundamental questions, like, "Did you *finish* the damn thing?"
I'm fairly sure that more than 55% of players completed Max Payne 2 and Halo - those games were designed to be finished, and I'd hold them up as an example to follow. If your game is going to have a decent story, your players should be able to get to the end of it.
How can we expect people to buy the sequel if they didn't even finish the first one?